No. 17 (2019): Rules without Words: Inquiries into Non-Linguistic Normativities
Section 1. Conceptual Investigations

Conceptual Confusions and Causal Dynamics

Patrizio Lo Presti
Department of Philosophy, Lund University

Published 2019-12-15


  • norms,
  • rules,
  • social practice,
  • causal dynamics,
  • know-how

How to Cite

Lo Presti, P. (2019). Conceptual Confusions and Causal Dynamics. Phenomenology and Mind, (17), 32–43.


This paper argues that rules and norms are conceptually distinct: what is norm is not thereby rule, and vice versa. Versions of conflating the two are discussed and an argument for distinction given. Two objections to the argument are responded to. It is accepted that rules and norms are often intimately related. They are so causally, not conceptually: what norms we live by can make a difference to what rules we accept and what rules we accept can make a difference to what norms we live by. This is a social, dynamic and continuous causal process of development of the social practices of community.


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